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The Church has its own version of “keeping up with the Joneses”. And it usually looks like keeping up with the mega church down the street.
Unfortunately, that mentality is often what drives the decisions we make in our churches. “Is Northpoint doing that? We gotta do it.” Let me tell you, that makes poor church strategy. If you’re using media in your churches because the hip, young mega churches are using media, you need to rethink what you’re doing.
Or worse, if you’re using media in your church because you’re bored with church, you need to rethink what you’re doing.
Media isn’t the end goal. Media is a tool meant to get us to our goal.
When was the last time you used a hammer to nail in a screw? When was the last time you used a screwdriver to drive a nail? Tools when misused can be dangerous. The same is true with media. But when we use the tool of media properly, it’s a powerful thing.
What Kind of Tool is Media?
So that begs the question, what sort of tool is media? What is it best used for? I’m so glad you asked.
Media is a tool for communication. It’s a language of sorts.
When was the last time you and a few friends gathered around a computer screen to watch the latest viral video? When was the last time you changed your mind based on something you watched in a movie.
I’d wager fairly recently.
That’s because media is a powerful language our culture uses to communicate with each other. Music, videos, photos, sound bytes… They’re all a language our culture speaks fluently.
So why is media so important for the church? If we hope to communicate with our culture, we’d better become masters at media. We’d better become masters at communicating media fluently.
What Does it Take to Become Fluent in Media?
Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language? Maybe Spanish, German, or Chinese?
I know many friends who “learned” these languages in high school. But if you dropped them in a foreign country where they were required to use these languages, they’d be utterly useless.
For the first few weeks, that is. But if they remained immersed in the culture, surrounded by those languages, you better believe they’d become experts quickly.
That’s what it truly takes to master a language. Immersion.
Do you want to speak the language of media fluently to reach our culture? Let me encourage you with this: immerse yourself in it.
Start taking some risks. Start feeling uncomfortable. Surround yourself in the world of media and I guarantee you’ll become fluent in no time.
You can’t hope to communicate to a media culture unless you’re speaking the media language. And the best way to learn a language is to start speaking it.
Engage on blogs. Go to conferences. Read magazines. Talk to media friends. Do whatever it takes to—not keep up with the mega church down the street—but keep up with the culture you’re trying to reach.
JONATHAN MALM is an author, speaker, and creative entrepreneur. While working full-time at his church as creative director, he created multiple resources to help the Church be more effective at creativity. He now runs these projects full-time and consults with churches and creative directors to make their ministries more successful. Jonathan lives with his wife Carolina in San Antonio, Texas.